Over the years, many reports have been written about the city of Detroit and its neighborhoods. The work ranges from student capstone projects to dedicated efforts by local community organizations and experts to in-depth analyses created by some of the finest urban thinkers in the country. The sheer volume of research, however, can be challenging to sift through, and over the years, many neighborhood-level reports have focused on the same areas, while leaving others less covered, or not covered at all. This can contribute to research fatigue in some areas of Detroit, while feeding a perception elsewhere in the city that the neighborhood may have been ‘passed over’ in favor of other areas.
To solve this challenge, we started to amass a dataset of reports organized by geography, so that people could easily identify areas of overlap and gaps in information. By representing the reports in a spatial format, we hoped that people could look up reports for a specific area of interest. If an organization or person was looking for information about an area with many reports, they could find this information in one place rather than having to search for it scattered across the internet or even start from scratch to create a new report with new recommendations. If someone was looking for information about an area that wasn’t covered by any reports, they would know that this was an area where they could focus research efforts and help fill in a potential gap in information and knowledge about Detroit.
We had already started to build out our dataset, and had created a prototype version of this tool, when Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan shared their Investing in Us research on residents’ priorities for the economy. Poverty Solutions was also looking for ways to represent reports and research about Detroit by geography, so we aligned our efforts, merged our datasets, and created this hybrid tool called Report Detroit that would be better than what either of us could build individually.
The tool catalogs nearly 500 reports about the city of Detroit and its neighborhoods in the following topic areas:
- Arts and Culture
- Community Development
- Economic Development
- Financial Well-Being
- Planning and Design
- Safety and Planning
To view all the reports, click here.
Focusing on the neighborhood-level reports, D3 created visual boundaries for each report’s study area, which allows users to click on a particular area of the map and see what reports have been previously written about that neighborhood. A pop-up window displays showing how many reports have been written that include that particular point on the map. The pop-up also has the details about individual reports.
Click on the right-pointed arrow at the top of the pop-up window to see the overlapping reports. Each report has detailed descriptions in the pop up window such as a description, link to the report, publication date, and topics covered.
We hope that this map will help Detroit organizations leverage investments already made in data analysis and the hard work that has gone into engaging Detroit residents through focus groups and surveys to contextualize the data and understand more clearly the impact of events on the lived experiences of residents.
On the right hand side of the map, users can also use the filter options to select only certain categories of reports to display on the map. The second filter tab allows users to filter for reports on certain council districts or for reports with different types of data inputs like community participation, qualitative data, or quantitative data.
As you use this tool, we would appreciate any feedback, reports we should include, or suggestions on how to make it more useful for your work. Please send any feedback or reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.